How To File A Workers’ Compensation Claim In Illinois
No one wants to get hurt at work. Unfortunately, work injuries are not uncommon in Illinois. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there are approximately 2.8 million non-fatal workplace injuries or illnesses that occur each year across the country. Thankfully, most work injuries are covered through Illinois workers’ compensation insurance benefits. However, if you or somebody you care about has been injured at work, you may have various questions about how to file a workers’ compensation claim in Illinois.
Steps to Filing Workers Comp in Illinois
If you have sustained a workplace injury or illness in Illinois, there are various steps you can take that can help maximize your chances of receiving full compensation.
- Seek medical care. It is important that you seek medical care as soon as you know that you have sustained a workplace injury. This includes not only immediately apparent traumatic injuries but also cumulative motion injuries that you believe may have been caused by the workplace, even if they have developed over time.
- Notify your employer. There are specific deadlines in which you must report a work injury to your employer that we will discuss below. However, it is always important to report the injury to your employer as soon as you are able to.
- Employer response. When your employer has been notified of your injury, they will need to provide you with a list of medical professionals that have been approved for you to seek treatment. Your employer will also start the process with the insurance provider. Employers must accept or deny an injury claim within 14 days if the injury has caused you to miss three or more days of work. The employer has 30 days to file an accident report with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission.
- Regularly report to your employer. Be sure to ask about the requirements that your employer has for submitting claims for lost wages. It will generally be necessary to stay in contact with your employer and complete any necessary documentation.
- Check the status of your claim. It may be the case that your employer does not approve every part of your claim, and you may have to appeal the decision. You can check the status of your claim at the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission website.
What Benefits are Available?
Injured workers in Illinois are generally entitled to receive various types of compensation for their claim. This can include:
- Full coverage of any medical expenses. This includes initial emergency medical costs as well as the cost of all follow-up care that is needed. This also includes physical therapy and rehabilitation, prescription medications, medical devices, and more.
- Temporary disability benefits. If an employee is eligible for temporary disability benefits, they could receive up to 66.6% of their weekly pay. Injured workers will typically receive these benefits after missing three days of work. If a worker misses more than 14 days of work, they will be compensated for those initial three days as well.
- Permanent disability. Permanent disability benefits may be awarded for those who sustain severe injuries. An injury victim may receive 66.6% of the difference in their wages before and after their injury. Their pay may also be set by a “schedule of injuries” under Illinois law that determines compensation based on specific injuries that could occur. Those who are disfigured by their injuries may be entitled to receive up to 60% of their average weekly pay for up to 162 weeks.
How Long Do I Have to File a Workers Comp Claim in Illinois?
There are various timelines that you need to keep in mind after sustaining a work injury. First, you should always report any workplace injury to your employer as soon as possible. It is best to notify your employer in writing so that there is a formal record of the notification. Workers have 45 total days from the date the injury occurs to notify their employer. Failing to notify an employer within this 45-day period could result in the employee being unable to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
However, if a work injury claim is being made for a slower-developing injury or a cumulative trauma injury (such as carpal tunnel syndrome) that was a result of the workplace, you need to notify your employer as soon as you discover the condition.
After an employer has been notified within 45 days, the injured worker will have three years from the date the injury occurred to file a claim to receive workers’ compensation benefits. However, please understand that this is the absolute longest a person can wait before filing a claim and that any work injury claim needs to be made long before this deadline approaches in order to have the best chance at securing maximum compensation.
Can Employers Refuse To File a Workers Comp Claim?
Yes, there are times when employers or insurance carriers refuse a claim. Some of the most common reasons that an employer or workers’ comp insurer may refuse a claim include the following:
- The injury did not happen at work
- An injured worker failed to notify the employer within the required amount of time
- The injured worker was intoxicated by alcohol or drugs at the time of the incident
- The worker was not treated by an improved medical provider
- The worker received no medical care for their “injury”
- The injury was a result of horse playing or roughhousing
- The injury happened outside of work hours (unpaid break, work commute, etc.)
- The injury was a result of a pre-existing condition
- The employer disputes the facts of the incident
If you or a loved one have received a workers’ compensation claim denial for any of the above reasons, you need to speak and maybe hire a workers’ compensation attorney at Horwitz Horwitz & Associates today.
Questions? Contact Horwitz Horwitz & Associates Today!
If you or somebody you care about has sustained a workplace injury and have questions about filing your claim, speak to a Chicago workers’ compensation attorney at Horwitz Horwitz & Associates today. Our knowledgeable and experienced team understands the Illinois workers’ compensation process, and we are ready to assist you with every aspect of your claim. We will conduct a full investigation into your injury and handle any disputes that may arise between you and your employer or the workers’ compensation insurer. Our team will also help you with any workers’ compensation claim appeal. When you need an Illinois workers’ compensation attorney, please call our Chicago office at (312) 372-8822 or our Joliet office at (815) 723-8822. You can also call our toll free number at (800) 985-1819.